Spooky September is here!
And to celebrate, my focus this month is science fiction books (with some fantasy scattered in because why the hell not). And the latest Katherine St John release, because culty thrillers are spooky too, right?
Here’re the books, and yes, they are all ARCs for the most part, aside from my The Locked Tomb reread.
ARCs marked with an *, all blurbs are from Goodreads.
The State of the TBR
The Spear Cuts Through Water by Simon Jimenez*
The royal family—the despotic emperor and his monstrous sons, the Three Terrors—hold the countryside in their choking grip. They bleed the land and oppress the citizens with the frightful powers they inherited from the god locked under their palace. With the aid of a guard broken by his guilt-stricken past and an outcast fighting for his future, the god escapes from her royal captivity and flees from her own children. And so it is that she embarks with her young companions on a five-day pilgrimage in search of freedom—and a way to end the Moon Throne forever.
The Spare Man by Mary Robinette Kowal*
Tesla Crane, a brilliant inventor and an heiress, is on her honeymoon on an interplanetary space liner, cruising between the Moon and Mars. She’s traveling incognito and is reveling in her anonymity. Then someone is murdered and the festering chowderheads who run security have the audacity to arrest her spouse. Armed with banter, martinis, and her small service dog, Tesla is determined to solve the crime so that the newlyweds can get back to canoodling–and keep the real killer from striking again.
Station Eternity by Mur Lafferty*
From idyllic small towns to claustrophobic urban landscapes, Mallory Viridian is constantly embroiled in murder cases that only she has the insight to solve. But outside of a classic mystery novel, being surrounded by death doesn’t make you a charming amateur detective, it makes you a suspect and a social pariah. So when Mallory gets the opportunity to take refuge on a sentient space station, she thinks she has the solution. Surely the murders will stop if her only company is alien beings. But when the station agrees to allow additional human guests, Mallory knows the break from her peculiar reality is over. After the first Earth shuttle arrives, and aliens and humans alike begin to die, the station is thrown into peril.
The Nightland Express by JM Lee*
At the Pony Express station, Jesse meets Ben Foley, a quiet but determined boy, so secretive about his origin story there is little doubt it must be turbulent, and they become partners. As they encounter mysterious portals that carry them miles in an eyeblink and unusual creatures with uncanny glowing eyes, it becomes clear that this is no normal mission. A second, magical realm exists just below the surface of the mortal one, intertwined since the beginning of time—but the divisive violence of colonization and war are tearing the two worlds apart.
Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir (2019)
The Emperor needs necromancers. The Ninth Necromancer needs a swordswoman. Gideon has a sword, some dirty magazines, and no more time for undead bullshit. Brought up by unfriendly, ossifying nuns, ancient retainers, and countless skeletons, Gideon is ready to abandon a life of servitude and an afterlife as a reanimated corpse. She packs up her sword, her shoes, and her dirty magazines, and prepares to launch her daring escape. But her childhood nemesis won’t set her free without a service. Of course, some things are better left dead.
Harrow the Ninth by Tamsin Muir
Harrowhark Nonagesimus, last necromancer of the Ninth House, has been drafted by her Emperor to fight an unwinnable war. Side-by-side with a detested rival, Harrow must perfect her skills and become an angel of undeath — but her health is failing, her sword makes her nauseous, and even her mind is threatening to betray her.
Nona the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir*
Her city is under siege. The zombies are coming back. And all Nona wants is a birthday party. In many ways, Nona is like other people. She lives with her family, has a job at her local school, and loves walks on the beach and meeting new dogs. But Nona’s not like other people. Six months ago she woke up in a stranger’s body, and she’s afraid she might have to give it back. The whole city is falling to pieces. A monstrous blue sphere hangs on the horizon, ready to tear the planet apart. And each night, Nona dreams of a woman with a skull-painted face…
The Vicious Circle by Katherine St John*
On a river deep in the Mexican jungle stands the colossal villa Xanadu, a wellness center that’s home to The Mandala, an ardent spiritual group devoted to self-help guru Paul Bentzen and his enigmatic wife Kali. But when, mysteriously, Paul suddenly dies, his entire estate—including Xanadu—is left to his estranged niece Sveta, a former model living in New York City. At first, Xanadu seems like a secluded paradise with its tumbling gardens, beautiful people, transcendent vibe, and mesmerizing de-facto leader Kali. But soon the mystical façade wears thin, revealing a group of brainwashed members drunk on false promises of an impossible utopia and a disturbing, dangerous belief system—and leader—guiding them.
Into the Riverlands by Nghi Vo*
Wandering cleric Chih of the Singing Hills travels to the riverlands to record tales of the notorious near-immortal martial artists who haunt the region. On the road to Betony Docks, they fall in with a pair of young women far from home, and an older couple who are more than they seem. As Chih runs headlong into an ancient feud, they find themselves far more entangled in the history of the riverlands than they ever expected to be.
The Other Hopefuls
I have a dastardly ambitious list of backlist books checked out from the library. They sit on my nightstand, mocking me each time I walk past, and my reading has been so slow recently that I just can’t seem to focus on anything much. But I have some hope that eventually I’ll read them. Soon.
The physical books:
- The City Inside by Samit Basu
- Saint Death’s Daughter by CSE Cooney
- The Blood Trials by NE Davenport
- Strange Beasts of New China by Yan Ge
- Star Eater by Kerstin Hall
- Folklorn by Angela Mi Young Hur
- The Second Rebel by Linden Lewis
- The Romance Recipe by Ruby Barrett
- Dauntless by Elisa Bonnin
- Bookish People by Susan Coll
- The Facemaker by Lindsey Fitzharris
- The Verifiers by Jane Pek
- Entangled Life by Merlin Sheldrake
- Finding the Mother Tree by Susan Simard
- Sadie by Courtney Summers